Most tasks that people find onerous can be made easier by taking a step-by-step approach. This is true for purchasing a house, adding to one’s family or planning a vacation. It is also true for estate planning, and many in New Jersey find it helpful to break down the process into simple steps. The following outline offers guidance on the matter, but it is important to note that each individual or family will have a unique set of needs, and the basic steps chosen should reflect those goals.
A great place to begin is with a review of one’s existing level of life insurance. For families in which financial stability relies upon the income of one party, it is a good idea to purchase a life insurance policy that would provide sufficient financial support in the event that the breadwinner passes away. This is often a priority for families who have young children, so that their needs can be met in the event that one or both parents die before the children reach adulthood.
Next comes the creation of a simple will. This is the vehicle by which one’s assets and belongings will be passed on to the chosen heirs. Those who die without a will, which is referred to as being “intestate,” will have their estate subjected to the probate process, the outcome of which may not be in line with one’s intentions. This is also the time to double check that one’s chosen heir(s) are listed on all accounts that have a named beneficiary. These accounts will pass to the person who is listed as beneficiary, even if one’s will states otherwise.
Finally, many in New Jersey take steps to provide for their own funeral arrangements while they are still living. Not only can this ensure that one’s final wishes are carried out in the manner of their choosing, it is also an invaluable estate planning gift to those who will be left behind. Having the planning and financial aspects of a funeral already in place will allow loved ones to enter the grieving process unencumbered with the need to handle those tasks.
Source: kitsapsun.com, “Step-by-step approach on estate planning“, May 5, 2015